CUP kings Shepley remain on course to retain the Romida Sykes Cup after humbling Elland in the first semi-final at Marsh Lane.
Despite an indifferent season in the League, Danny Glover’s side continue to rise to the big occasion, and after inflicting misery on Elland the previous day in the League programme, they compounded the heartbreak for the Hullen Edgers by handing out a seven-wicket hammering 24 hours later.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Elland lost opener Niall Lockley and Greg Finn with the total on 32 before skipper Paul Winrow and Lorenzo Ingram pulled it round with a cautious stand.
At the halfway point of the innings the pair had pushed the score onto just 65 as Craig Glover and SP Singh operated in tight tandem, but there was no indication of what was to come.
Two overs later, and with the score having moved to 73, Winrow edged a Glover delivery to stumper Tom Haigh for 37 – and the floodgates opened.
Next delivery Simon Wheelwright glanced into the gulley where Greg Wood took the simple catch, 73-4!
In his next over, Glover took his third, and most important wicket, when he trapped Ingram leg before, the dangerous Jamaican having made just 13.
Singh then joined the party in the next over by snapping up a smart caught and bowled to get rid of Dominic Finn, and followed up by having Naz Rehman and Ibrar Younas caught by Liam Wiles.
Chris Goulden became the third lbw victim of the innings, and Singh finished things off by dismissing Jack Hendy – the fifth player to fall without troubling the scorers – to finish with four for 12 from nine overs as Elland lost their last eight wickets for just 14 runs at 87 all out!
Elland’s only chance of upsetting the holders was to make early inroads into Shepley’s top order, and they briefly gave their supporters a glimmer of hope when Younas tempted Tom Denton into tickling behind to Greg Finn in the third over.
But with few runs on the board they needed to strike again quickly, and although Winrow opened with Ingram who bowled tightly enough, he never looked like making a breakthrough as Singh and Greg Wood made steady, if unspectacular progress.
Wood did unleash one delightful straight six off Younas, but was then caught in the deep by Goulden in the same over while attempting another boundary.
After moving the score on to 54, Liam Wiles was given out caught behind from Goulden’s third delivery after the spinner had replaced Younas at the village end, but by then Singh (33 not out) was well set, giving nothing away, and he was joined by Tim Rees (22 not out), who promptly cleared the boundary twice off Ingram to rack up a seven-wicket stroll in the 29th over.
Shepley, who entertain Townville next Sunday in the semi-finals of the Heavy Woollen Cup, will now meet either Delph & Dobcross or Hoylandswaine in the Sykes Cup final on Sunday, August 12 at Honley. Those two meet this coming Sunday (1.00).